Monday, January 18, 2010

Home at Last!

Somehow, with all the craziness that this last week brought, Adam and I flew back to Kansas today on our original flight to come home. We were supposed to fly out of Port-au-Prince on Sunday night, spend the night in Miami, then fly home Monday afternoon. Clearly, that first part didn't happen. But, it was nice to have a direct flight home that we had already paid for (and didn't have to eat the cost of it like our return flight from Haiti. Not huge fans of Air France right now - they cancelled all of their flights in and out of Haiti indefinitely and will only give us a nonrefundable, nontransferable flight voucher that expires in a year. Too bad the nearest airports they fly out of are San Francisco, Miami, or New York.). After so many miracles, you would think we would be able to make it back on our own. But no. The Lord stepped in once again to answer even our smallest prayer. We left Haiti with about 8,000 gourdes (about $200 USD). We know it's not a huge amount, but to us...it's pretty substantial. The airport in the DR wouldn't exchange it, so we were hoping to find one in Ft. Lauderdale that would. About an hour before our flight took off, Adam went to find the currency exchange booth at the Ft. Lauderdale Airport. We were in Terminal One, it was in Terminal Four (which you had to take a shuttle to get to). The entire time he was gone I prayed that he would be able to make it back in time so we wouldn't miss our direct flight home. Five minutes before they started boarding, he came rushing back in. When he finally found the booth, there was a sign saying it would be closed until 11 AM (our flight left at 11:30). Adam became slightly discouraged, but sat down to wait a while. He overheard a man talking about going to Haiti, so he approached him. The man was flying to Cap Haitien and Adam explained that we had quite a bit of Haitian currency and the man bought our money from us! At a much better price than the airport would have! We were so happy and grateful that there are such good people out there...and they all seem to be on our side. Another little miracle - we had forgotten to check in online to Southwest until an hour before our flight, so we were pretty sure we'd be in Boarding Group Z. However, when we got our boarding passes, we were in group A, numbers 24 and 25! We checked with each of our parents and none of them had checked us in. So...whoever did - thank you! We were able to sit next to each other on a very emotional flight.

Our flight landed in KCI 20 minutes early. Adam was pretty sure his parents would still be there, but I predicted my family was still parking (but had welcome home signs). We were one of the first off the planes - and no one was there. We waited about 10 minutes and finally our families came. By that time, two news crews from Kansas City were already there and in the process of interviewing us, but it was so exciting to hug our families! We had good interviews where we tried to focus on helping the people of Haiti. We also had another tv crew come by this evening, along with two different newspaper interviews. We feel like we should have just held a press conference or something! We're grateful that we have had some time to reflect on our experiences and hope that we can use this attention for good. We're including some of the reports that have been done already and we already have connections for when we are advertising about fundraising for Pazapa.

NBC Action News

KCTV 5

Initial UDK article

Initial LJ World article

WIBW interview - You'll have to click on a link, then search for our video.

Second LJWorld article

LJWorld Interview and Channel 6 News

Kansan interview

Kansan photo gallery

After staying up way too late to watch the 10:00 news, we finally were able to make our way back to our little home. Our 350 sq. ft. apartment has always seemed too small and almost unbearable, but after seeing how so many people live in Haiti, even before the earthquake, it's hard to be anything but grateful for it. It is clean, safe, and we have indoor plumbing and consistent electricity. We have two separate rooms, a bathroom, and full kitchen (not going to lie...that is still really small!). We have closets full of clothes and a home full of things. Things that really aren't at all important. Adam's mom surprised us by having our refrigerator and pantry full of good, healthy food - complete with enough meals for the week. She left paper plates, bowls, and cups that we have promised we will use all this week so we can take it easy. So much love continues to be shown to us! One of the best feelings last night was getting into our own clean pajamas and climbing into our own clean bed. Our family prayer was full of so much gratitude. What more can we ask for ourselves?! We are still pleading for those in Haiti to get the resources and peace that they so badly need, but we definitely feel that we can take a backseat now. We've seen more miracles in just a few short weeks than some may seem in a lifetime. It is completely evident that God is in the details of our lives. We still can't get over the timing of everything. All the events leading up to the earthquake made it possible for us to be in a safe place when it hit and get the help we needed to stay safe during all the aftermath. This little kiddo must be somebody pretty special!

***I just found a number of videos about the destruction in Jacmel, made by the Cine Institute (Haiti's only film institute, based in Jacmel). They are incredibly painful to watch, but give a very real understanding of what the earthquake has meant to the town of Jacmel. There's none of this dramatic, sensational journalism that Adam and I continue to see on US news stations. This is it. This is real. Click here for the videos.***

5 comments:

Ashley said...

I've mentioned before that I think it was clearly an inspired decision to keep such a detailed account of our journey to Haiti--we're all SO glad you're home safe. Thank you so much for sharing such a moving story...

rick and cheryl said...

Welcome home, Adam & Karen. We are so grateful that you have returned safely. Thanks for sharing this experience with us.

Al said...

glad to know you're safe you guys!

Mel said...

incredible. SO glad you guys made it home safely. the interviews were incredible. seriously, i still have chills.
Thank God you guys are safe!

Julie C said...

We are so grateful you are home safe. Our prayers are with you and also for the people of Haiti. You truly are inspirational and astonishingly poised. Thank you for sharing your amazing experiences.